Sunday, April 3, 2011


Hi everyone. Today I'm starting a new life again. Being a Leo (cat sign) I find it difficult to stop starting new lives all the time. Also a tell-tale trait of practising party artists. This time I will be perched upon a hill overlooking one of my favourite bodies of water (the sea) with some of my favourite humans, all of whom have been aforementioned at this P * A * R * T * Y. So I'm majorly psyched.

To celebrate I will channel another of my favourite humans, Kurt Vonnegut (RIP) directly from his book Wampeters, Fomas & Granfalloons, a collection of essays and speeches and interviews and whatnot. This is about what writers, and artists in general, are doing here. From an interview in Playboy magazine :

PLAYBOY: Beyond the fact that it's become a profitable way to make a living, why do you write?

VONNEGUT: My motives are political. I agree with Stalin and Hitler and Mussolini that the writer should serve his society. I differ with dictators as to
how writers should serve. Mainly, I think they should be - and biologically have to be - agents of change. For the better, we hope.

PLAYBOY: Biologically?

VONNEGUT: Writers are specialized cells in the social organism. They are evolutionary cells. Mankind is trying to become something else; it's experimenting with new ideas all the time. And writers are a means of introducing new ideas into the society, and also a means of responding symbolically to life. I don't think we're in control of what we do.

is in control?

VONNEGUT: Mankinds wish to improve itself.

PLAYBOY: In a Darwinian sense?

VONNEGUT: I'm not very grateful to Darwin, although I suspect he was right. His ideas make people crueler. Darwinism says to them that people who get sick deserve to be sick, that people who are in trouble deserve to be in trouble. When anybody dies, cruel Darwinists imagine we are obviously improving ourselves in some way. And any man who's on top is there because he's a superior animal. That's the social Darwinism of the last century, and it continues to boom. But forget Darwin. Writers are specialized cells doing whatever we do, and we're expressions of the entire society - just as the sensory cells on the surface of your body are in the service of your body as a whole. And when a society is in great danger, we're likely to sound the alarms. I have the canary-in-the-coal-mine theory of the arts. You know, coal miners used to take birds down into the mines with them to detect gas before men got sick. The artists certainly did that in the case of Vietnam. They chirped and keeled over. Nobody important cared. But I continue to think that artists - all artists - should be treasured as alarm systems.

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